Amidst vast wineries and towering redwood forests in Sunny Sonoma, CA, the Tibetan Gallery & Studio not only does great retail, but is home to a very unique project: the first thanbochi, a two-story high ceremonial scroll unfurled at special Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies, painted by a Tibetan outside of Tibet.
We spoke to artist and owner, Tashi Dhargyal, who has spent over 16 years practicing art. He has played an integral part in the Tibetan art community by traveling throughout India to restore monasteries, and working with his teacher to start the Institute of Tibetan Thangka Art.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started and what you’re all about?
The Tibetan Gallery & Studio is unique as it’s not only an art gallery and shop, it’s also my working studio. I’m the first Tibetan to paint a thanbochi, a traditional Buddhist ceremonial scroll, outside of Tibet. This will be made using completely traditional materials, and will take about five years to complete. We’re also a non-profit, so when the thanbochi is complete, it will be donated to a monastery in Tibet.
What’s your local community like?
People in the North Bay area and wine country are eclectic, well-traveled and down-to-earth. There are lots of farmers, so the restaurants have a ‘farm to table’ culture. The ‘local maker’ feel to our community inspires our small gallery shop, which sells my artworks, prints, and other fair trade Himalayan-inspired gift items.
What brought you to Vend and how have you found it? Would you recommend Vend to retailers like you?
When I knew I was adding a retail component to my studio, I began to search the internet to find out what would work on my iPad, and what would help me create easy to understand reports, and track inventory. Vend came up and I spent time talking to the team in New Zealand. One of the original staff was coming to San Francisco for a meeting, and made time to come visit me personally to showcase the product. That meant a lot.
With the addition of the Ecommerce platform, I couldn’t be happier. Other systems seemed to need all sorts of plugins to do what Vend does already. I always recommend it!
What does your passion come from for what you do?
Tibetan art is inseparable from Tibetan culture, but many people don’t know a lot about it. Museums that have Tibetan art usually only have antique pieces. Over 6,000 monasteries were destroyed (and the art inside them as well) during the Cultural Revolution, so my aim is to make the art accessible to people again. They’re free to come see how the work is done, and learn more about the traditional art form in general. That’s why I chose PreserveTibetanArt.org as my website name!
About Ashley Gilgrist
Ashley looks after product marketing at Vend — working hard to bring exciting product launches to retailers around the globe. When she’s not busy talking all-things-Vend, Ashley also has a love of tea, candle-crafting, binge-watching, and hiking the pointy peaks of New Zealand.